Search - Tom Dowd & the Language of Music on DVD

Tom Dowd & the Language of Music
Tom Dowd the Language of Music
Actors: Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton
Director: Mark Moormann
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
UR     2004     1hr 22min

TOM DOWD & THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC profiles the extraordinary life and legendary work of music producer / recording engineer Tom Dowd. Historical footage, vintage photographs and interviews with a who's who list of musical ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton
Director: Mark Moormann
Creators: Mark Moormann, James Kirk, Jonathan Dana, Juan Carlos Lopez, Lawrence Saichek, Mark L. Hunt, Scott L. Gordon
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Pop, Rock & Roll, Coltrane, John, Monk, Thelonious, Clapton, Eric, Classic Rock, Educational, Biography
Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 08/24/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 22min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Amazing Man, Amazing Life
H. Webber | Austin, TX United States | 09/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been anticipating this DVD for a few weeks, after hearing Moormann's interview on NPR, and I was not disappointed in the least. Tom Dowd was an amazing man who led an amazing life, and it is pieced together beautifully in this engaging documentary. But you don't have to be a fan of Tom Dowd to appreciate this disc. Anyone who loves music will find something here to appreciate, whether it's archival footage of Otis Redding, an interview with Eric Clapton, or Dowd's rendition of "I Love a Piano" by Irving Berlin. And in the process of telling Tom's story, the film also provides a fascinating history of record producing, from its primitive beginnings, through the marvels of 8-track tape, straight up to the computers of modern music production.

Like most people, I had never heard of Tom Dowd but have been touched by his musical influence. I am grateful that Moormann chose to do this project, to bring Tom's work out into the light for me and other music fans. It is a perfect way to honor Tom's memory, and I will enjoy watching it again and again.

This documentary has several goose-bump moments, and as the final credits roll, you can't help but feel inspired. We should all be as fortunate as Tom Dowd--to find such joy in our life's work, and to be so darn good at it.
Loved it!
swlabr123 | Delaware | 09/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The previous poster, that song you want to know is LAYLA by Derek and the Dominoes..the piano part is 4 minutes in, and was written by the drummer Jim Gordon (just the piano part, clapton wrote the words), who also is playing the piano (though some piano parts are played by Bobby Whitlock)...not to be confused with the version Eric Clapton did in that MTV unplugged thing..Ok, this was a great bio/documentary on an unsung hero of the music industry. The only thing else I could wish for is maybe interviews with Aretha Franklin or Wilson Pickett? How cool is it that this guy not only worked on the Manhattan Project, but worked with greats such as John Coltrane, Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers band etc. They all respected his work too. He seems like such a regular guy, and pretty much was a regular guy. The montage in the begining (with Tales of Brave Ulyssess in the background) is sometimes a bit much, but very artistic. Other than that, a great docu, and be sure to check out the bonus material with extra interviews and deleted scenes. I really like how they keep going back and forth to his youth working with Physics. Some of the most fascinating bits of the film. Most of the historic footage is from TV shows featuring the artists."
Superb - a great DVD, a great life - thanks PALM
Luigi Facotti | Chicago Il | 12/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Firtsly, my wife who hates most of my music sat transfixed through this movie - from the Manhattan project, through the early years of Atlantic, Stax to the Allman Brothers one cannot miss both the impact and the enthusiasm of Tom Dowd. The commentaries by both the musicians, Jerry Wexler, Ahmet Ertegun and Phil Ramone as well as Tom's own commentaries show what a special individual Tom Dowd was. All though this movie - especially seeing the late Ray Charles - the magnitude of what was committed to film is highlighted. This is a special movie about a very special person - I loved the comments on the primitive nature of the recording hardware in the UK compared what Tom Dowd was using in the 50s and early 60s."
Musician + A-bomb researcher + Engineer = Producer
Timothy D. Shoppa | Bethesda, MD USA | 09/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD's main feature is the stunning one-and-a-half-hour movie. The beginning is a out-of-sync history of Dowd's life before entering the music business (30's and early 40's) alternating with his entry into the music business (late 40's and early 50's) and specifically Atlantic's recordings, the backbeat being the recording technology (and recording engineer) of the time. This part is punctuated, oddly enough, with a psychidelic montage of A-bomb stock footage with Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses" dubbed on top. This montage makes more sense as you learn more about Tom Dowd and the music and more that he made in his life.

After this we get to meet some of the R&B musicians that Tom Dowd recorded and worked with, mostly alternating between interviews of Dowd and interviews of the musicians, and occasional footage of the artists on the stage or occasionally (and very rewardingly) in the studio with Dowd. In particular there is some stunningly exemplary footage of Dowd in the studio with Aretha Franklin.

Dowd has an almost overly friendly presence in the interviews, which at first seemed (to me) put on for the camera but I later figured out that this is the guy in real life.

Interviews recount the technical and artistic relationship between Atlantic and Stax records, with again Dowd serving as the centerpiece of all activity.

The last part has extensive interviews with Eric Clapton and members of the Allman Brothers culminating in Tom Dowd at the mixing board with the master tape of "Layla". For any fan of music this will be a thrilling moment, and it's only made better by Dowd's rediscovery of the original tracks. Moorman was interviewed on NPR about this and he was running-over with the glory of working with Dowd on this particular segment.

Beyond the regular movie, there is bonus material of additional interviews with all the artists and the movers-and-shakers at Atlantic, especially Jerry Wexler. These interviews are not to be missed, if you have any interest at all in the folks who made all this music happen you have to read this. Dowd back at Columbia University is a real treat.

And, after watching this, I went to the record collection on my shelf. Sure enough... Tom Dowd. His name is on them all, but I never knew him until now."